Williams’ new Community Life Coordinators (CLC) were officially introduced to the College community on Thursday Sept. 12, during a reception at Goodrich Hall. While sparsely attended, the gathering gave the CLCs an opportunity to mingle with staff, President Schapiro and students.
Despite the lackluster attendance, enthusiasm ran high. CLC Tanesha Leathers ’00 reported being “very excited” about the forthcoming year, a sentiment echoed by her fellow CLCs as well as Dean Roseman. “I’m incredibly jazzed… I’m very pleased with how it has gone so far,” Roseman said.
The CLC positions were created as a response to last year’s comprehensive report on residential life released by the Committee on Undergraduate Life (CUL). The proposal recommended the creation of the Office of Community Life to “establish the basis for a productive, lively, better-planned residential experience.” Unlike most other institutions of its size and caliber, Williams formerly had no residential life program beyond the Junior Advisor program, and there was “a crying need,” according to Roseman, for such an institution.
As a result, the College has hired four recent college graduates – Nate Gill, Lindsay Hayes, Leathers and Brian Schwartz – to act as CLCs. They have all had experience in similar roles during their own educational careers, at schools like Williams. According to Jen Doleac ’03, a student member of the CLC selection committee, approximately 50 applications were received for the position, of which around 18 candidates were selected for interviews.
“The biggest thing we were looking for was enthusiasm for creating the new position and really shaping the job,” Doleac said. “Whatever they do as a group this year will shape the role in the future. They also had to have a willingness to work on campus and live here, even eat in the dining halls.”
The main role of the CLCs within the college community is to function as an alternative to the Dean’s office, in a non-disciplinary position. “I want to see students safe, having fun and forming long lasting relationships with lots of different types of people,” said Leathers. Remarked Schwartz, “we are potential support for students, especially for things that are not quite something they would go to the psych center for.” All four CLCs have undergone extensive training for the positions, including student-to-student counseling.
Additionally, the CLCs all hold collateral jobs within the College, including working in the Multicultural Center, on the Student Activities Council and organizing intramural sports. By helping orchestrate activities in these departments and many others, they hope to “alleviate some of the burden falling on the students for doing all of the stuff that they do,” Roseman said.
The CLCs are also involved with the new Housing Coordinator (HC) system which is being implemented in upperclass dorms this year. Each CLC is responsible for coordinating with HCs living in a particular geographical area on campus. They meet once a week with the HCs from their area, and are “helping the HCs get the program off of the ground,” in the words of Spencer HC Danni Lapin ’03. Right now, Lapin describes, the interaction is mainly between the HCs and the CLCs, although in the future they hope to have “Meet-your-CLC nights” and another, more publicized meet-and-greet reception, as well other activities to further introduce the CLC’s to the students they serve.
Due to the recent initiation of the program and its departure from Williams tradition, the CLCs are still in the process of discovering exactly what their role will be within the community. “We’re writing the job description as it goes along,” Schwartz said. “What it is and what it can be – and the best way we can do this is by asking students what we can be.”
Leathers, the only CLC who is also an alumna of the College, described her vision of the process. “I don’t want it to be like every other school. What’s important is what fits with the campus here, because we’re not everywhere else,” she said.
Along with developing the program, she hopes to spread the word about exactly who the CLCs are and what they do, as their everyday interaction with students increases. “We are trying to make connections with students. If you see us, stop, wave and say hi; we’re nice people, we’ll wave back.”